Personal Journey by Deacon AntonioJuly 29, 2012 1 Comment
July 29, 2012 / MariaNews.com
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
My wife, Maud, an only child, was not born of Catholic parents. Her father, Albert Orlando Wilson, was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church; her mother, Annie May Porter, was a Congregationalist, but later in life, she most often attended the AME Church. When Maud was 13 years old, her family was living in New Orleans where her father was the pastor of St. James AME Church.
Maud’s curiosity about the Catholic Church began one day while riding a crowded city bus. There was a man standing near where she was sitting; he had packages on one hand and was holding on with the other hand to the bar above his head to keep from falling. However, when the bus was passing in front of St. Louis Cathedral, he placed his packages on the floor, took off his hat, and made the sign of the Cross. Maud wondered what was so Sacred about the Catholic Church to make that man go to all that trouble to make that act of reverence as they passed by the Cathedral.
On another day Maud was walking by St. Louis Cathedral, and out of curiosity decided to go in to see what a Catholic house of worship was like. The doors were open and no one was in the Church. Maud was impressed by the peace she experienced in the Cathedral and she sensed a Holy Presence which she later attributed to Jesus in the Eucharist. This was an experience she never forgot and it led her to become a Catholic 13 years later at the age of 26, three years before I met her.
I was born in 1931 in rural New Mexico of Catholic parents, Jose Eusebio Sandoval and Maria Amada Perea. I am the third of 12 siblings, ten boys and two girls. Two of my brothers died as infants, and two have died as adults. There are eight of us left. All of us are retired, except the youngest, one of my sisters who is 56 years old.
The Catholic faith has always been a part of my life. As a child, daily family rosary and Mass on Sundays was a must. As soon as I made my first Communion, I became an altar server. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Mass were part of my formation. This is what probably led to become a deacon later in life.
My father only had a 5th grade education and my mother an 8th grade education; however, they both believed that education was very important. All my siblings, except one, have a college or university education.
I met Maud in 1957 at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. She was a doctoral student in the Microbiology Department, and I was a doctoral student in the Chemistry Department. Our common faith formed the basis of our friendship before and after marriage. We have four children, Joseppi Ann, Carlos Martin, Eusebio Jude, and Amada Rita.
Maud and I have attended daily Mass throughout our marriage, except when work schedules precluded it. Years later, I developed an appreciation for Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. My favorite biblical passage became John 6: 54: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day”. I believe this promise of Jesus is the key to spiritual success.
Marriage is not an easy vocation, even for couples with best intentions, But, if, as a couple, we worship together, pray together, learn and practice the faith together, God will give us the grace to overcome our self-centeredness and become us-centered.
Read more by Deacon Antonio here
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.
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